Ex HMRC accountant in £120k tax fraud

An accountant who was a former HMRC employee, and who wrote a guide to beating the tax authorities, has been found guilty of a £120,000 tax fraud

Martyn Arthur, based in Porthcawl, originally joined the Inland Revenue (now HMRC) in 1968. After leaving in 2005 to work in private practice, he wrote the book Taxpayer Strikes Back about how to challenge HMRC.

In the book, which was published in 2009, Arthur claimed to know the system ‘inside out’ and provided tips on how to ‘stand up’ to HMRC.

However, in 2013 HMRC began an investigation into Arthur’s business affairs which resulted in a prosecution for cheating the public revenue.

Cardiff Crown Court heard that Arthur submitted inaccurate tax returns over the period 2008 – 2013 in order to avoid paying the tax that was due. He covered this up by deliberately keeping incomplete records, using multiple accounts and moving money between them.

The court was told. Arthur’s behaviour ‘went from uncooperative to deliberately hostile and aggressive’ in a bid to put off investigators, while he sent a barrage of emails which made the inquiry complicated and time-consuming.

At trial, Arthur was found to have deprived HMRC of £88,500, plus interest of £31,400, making a total of nearly £120,000. He was given a suspended 18-month jail sentence after being found guilty of two counts of cheating the public revenue.

Passing sentence Judge Michael Fitton said: ‘You are a man who has destroyed your own reputation. You are now professionally worthless. That, you have brought about. You are now convicted as a cheat and a fraudster.’

Arthur was declared bankrupt in 2008 and disqualified from being a company director, but continued to run one of his companies in his wife's name.

Arthur told the court: ‘I am very sorry. I was plain stupid. I am genuinely ashamed to find myself in this position. I recognise where I went wrong.’

As well as a suspended sentence, Arthur was disqualified from being a company director for five years, and HMRC is seeking to recover the money he owed.  Arthur’s prosecution is understood to have followed his refusal to use a contractual disclosure facility, which would have seen him avoid criminal charges if he paid any taxes and penalties due.

Steve Doyle, assistant director, criminal investigation for HMRC, said: ‘Arthur had the chance to put his tax affairs in order but he chose not to. He cheated the public purse of tens of thousands of pounds that should have been spent on vital public services. Now he is paying the price for his dishonesty.

‘We try and give people a chance to put their affairs in order, but if they refuse to we will take firm action.’

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